Monday, 25 January 2010

Writing Buddies at The Art House, Southampton

The first meeting of Writing Buddies in our new home, The Art House, in Southampton, was a complete success! Phew!

Ten writers turned up and all agreed that the new venue was a good one. The fact that the coffee is particularly good and it is brought to the table thoughtfully reserved for us, was a huge bonus!

Christine has been a busy girl! She is busy updating her book, and is working on the WriteSpace short story competition for a 1500 word story on the subject of 'Lost Love'. The closing date is 31 January and the Writing Buddies wish her well.

Mo has been to Berlin reading poetry. She loves the city and has found outlets there for her books, which has pleased her. The fact too that she has just been accepted by the Society of Women Writers and Journalists is cause for celebration too.

It was good to see Elizabeth back again. She has started writing short stories once more and is now also writing a novel.

Glen is waiting to hear if her play will be put on at the Romsey Plaza or if it will be used as a workshop there. She is working on a newsletter, which she has enjoyed interviewing for and editing. She has an agent interested in her novel.

Tessa is still busy editing her second novel. She has been to Germany to promote the first and has received an 'ecstatic' response there. The Dohlen Inheritance was reviewed in a German newspaper and she is now looking for a German publisher. She is seriously considering setting up a website in addition to the blog she has already established. In the meantime, she is wondering what to do with the huge amount of information on knitting she has collected, including garments that she made to illustrate her work. She has published thirteen books on the subject. The University of Southampton, the only academic institution in this country which views knitting as an academic subject - an aspect of topology, the study of knots, are thinking about it.

Jacqueline wrote a ghost story for her grandchildren and told it to them on Christmas Eve. She says the best way to keep on track is to tell someone else you are going to write something and then you have to do it! Jacqueline is also going to send poems to Writers' Forum magazine and is working on her children's detective novel. She badly needs a new chair, as the one she balances her cushions on when she writes is giving her a bad back. Several other Writing Buddies empathised.

Jimmy announced that he was sending the manuscript of his autobiography to Nicola Guy, our guest from The History Press just before Christmas. He and his son are busy editing it now. Jimmy has also been talking about a book on the history of Eastleigh with Nicola and is awaiting news on this. He has sent in entries to the Riptide Competition he read about in The Woman Writer magazine. He was rejected by Legend Press but was very pleased with his article, on his time as a Vindi Boy, which appeared in the January edition of Best of British magazine.

Peter is very happy with his blog and website, which he recently had set up for him. He is now going to have some business cards printed. He is off to Portsmouth and Petersfield, to open mic sessions at the end of January. He is looking at self publishing some of his work and has been to see a printer about this. Peter won first and second prizes at an internal poetry competition at the Poole Poetry Group, which he says was both 'a boost and chastening' at the same time.

The Writing Buddies welcomed Silma to the meeting. She lives in New Milton and is working on a fantasy story for 7 - 9 year olds. She has written several unpublished short stories. She has had an article accepted by Woman and Home but, as yet, has not seen it published. She asked the group's advice about this and there was a discussion on kill fees.

Penny had finished her Folklore of Hampshire book and delivered it to the publisher. She was busy working on The Woman Writer magazine for the SWWJ and had started working on her next books.

As usual the chat over the excellent coffee was of a varied nature. Tessa had been given a Kindle for Christmas and reported that it was difficult to load it with new material as the formatting was lost. Books have to be specifically aimed at the Kindle for it to accept them properly. It was, she said, easy to read from. She can makes notes on it but could not edit her own work.

In the wake of the closure of Borders, it was noted that Waterstones is reported to be struggling.

Christine was off to the Short Story Slam in Winchester and those who had taken part in this kind of event offered advice. All seemed to think they were good fun.

Marketing, its difficulties and how those authors about the table went about it took up a large part of the discussion. The traditional publishing versus self-publication debate continued, with Print on Demand generally felt to be the way publishing was heading. The importance of the web in marketing was discussed and there will be a workshop on setting up a blog at a Writing Buddies meeting soon.

Carole Ann Duffy, it was felt, had raised the profile of poetry generally by bringing it into the public eye more. Elizabeth noted that there was a poetry competition coming up at the Southampton Writers' Circle in March.

In all, it was a lively meeting, in a good venue and all the Writing Buddies enjoyed it.

The next meeting is at 2pm on Friday 29th January at The Art House, 178 Above Bar Street, Southampton. Everyone is welcome.


  1. Sounds like a good meeting, wish I lived a bit nearer!

  2. Next time you are down our way, come and join us! The Writing Buddies would love to hear from a magazine publisher! Best wishes, Penny